New York, April 7, 2008—Five years after a series of U.S. military strikes against media outlets in Baghdad killed three journalists, CPJ calls on the U.S. military to fully investigate the incidents and make its findings public. CPJ also calls on the U.S. military to implement procedures to address the presence of journalists on the battlefield.
On April 8, 2003, a U.S. tank fired a single shell on the Palestine Hotel, the main base for dozens of international journalists covering the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, killing Spanish cameraman José Couso of Telecinco and veteran Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, and wounding three other reporters. A CPJ investigation into the attack, “Permission to Fire,” found that although the attack on the hotel was not deliberate, it could have been avoided and may have been caused by a breakdown in communication within the U.S. Army chain of command.
New York, November 23, 2005—U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair should clarify reports by a British newspaper that Bush had raised the idea of bombing the headquarters and other offices of the Qatar-based satellite television network Al-Jazeera during an April 2004 meeting with Blair in Washington.
The London-based tabloid the Daily Mirror reported that Bush raised the idea of bombing Al-Jazeera's offices but that Blair advised against it, saying such action would provoke a global backlash. The paper's sources disagreed on the nature of Bush's alleged suggestion. One government source dismissed the remark as "humorous, not serious," and an unidentified source claimed the president was "deadly serious." The Washington Post quoted a senior U.S. diplomat as saying the report "sounds like one of the president's one-liners that is meant as a joke."
Doha, Qatar, Monday, May 23, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists has analyzed the deaths of journalists across the world for many years, producing two recent reports that highlight alarming trends in the circumstances, locations, and motives.
At least 339 journalists were killed on duty between 1995 and 2004, according to CPJ research compiled in January. But the vast majority did not die on any battlefield, or while covering a dangerous assignment. They were murdered in cold blood, in reprisal for their work or to prevent them from doing their jobs.